Electricity - necessary wayleaves: guidance for applicants, landowners and occupiers – 2022 update

Guidance on the procedure adopted by the Scottish Ministers in receiving and determining applications by network operators under the Electricity Act 1989 for necessary wayleaves, to retain or place electric lines on land. The guidance was updated in March 2022.

Engaging early with the people affected

12. Scottish Ministers expect licence holders to involve people in the decisions that affect them. The licence holder should seek to listen to and engage with the people affected before, during and after the necessary wayleave process.

13. Engaging early with the people potentially affected by a necessary wayleave will let landowners and occupiers know what the licence holder is proposing and let them know how it will affect them. Such engagement will help identify and address difficulties and may save time and money by reducing objections to the grant of a necessary wayleave. In particular, early landowner engagement which informs routeing strategy and the siting of electric lines and supporting structures will reduce the timescale associated with the necessary wayleave determination process.

14. Scottish Ministers recognise that in some cases it may be impracticable for the licence holder to obtain all land rights required by agreement in the project timeframe or at a reasonable cost. Scottish Ministers do not expect the licence holder to attempt to secure rights by agreement where this would not be practicable.

15. The licence holder should take a realistic view, depending on the circumstances, on whether it is practicable to acquire the rights by agreement. The date by which the licence holder needs entry to the land may be particularly important in determining the approach that it adopts. For example, it may not be practicable to reach a voluntary agreement in the project timescale or at a reasonable cost when numerous landowners and/ or occupiers are affected by a single proposal, or when a landowner and/ or occupier has unrealistic aspirations about the value of the rights to be granted, or a landowner and/ or occupier is unwilling to engage with the licence holder. The Scottish Ministers recognise that the licence holder may wish to continue their discussions with landowners following submission of an application for a necessary wayleave. However, this is not a substitute for pre-application engagement, which should inform the content of the necessary wayleave application.

16. In the course of pre-application engagement, the licence holder should explain to affected parties in plain, accessible language why it is seeking a necessary wayleave over their land. It should explain the nature and extent of rights sought, the purpose for which it seeks to acquire the rights, the powers that it is using, and what alternative routes or locations (if any) it has considered. The licence holder should meet with landowners, tenants, occupiers and anyone else affected as early as possible.

17. When seeking to acquire a necessary wayleave over agricultural or business land, the licence holder should give consideration to farming and business issues. It should consider the value of consulting a suitably qualified and experienced land agent or chartered rural surveyor to identify issues early. It should also consider the benefits of ensuring that its own wayleave officers have an awareness of farming and/or business issues.


Email: econsents_admin@gov.scot

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